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Ed Rendell on Janet Napolitano: Perfect because she has no life!

By Jimmy Orr / December 3, 2008

Jake Turcotte

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Ever been told to get a life?  As far as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is concerned, not having a life is a great compliment.  So complimentary is it that if you don't have one you're qualified to join Barack Obama's cabinet!

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Yeah, it's that open microphone thing again.  Remember when Peggy Noonan and Republican strategist Mike Murphy slammed Sarah Palin unknowingly on a live microphone?  It happened again yesterday but this time Governor Rendell was the victim.

Candid camera

If you're familiar with Rendell, you know him to be outspoken.  You know him to be candid.  He's one of those guys like Joe Biden who has a gift of gab and quite oftentimes is a refreshing politician to hear.   Even if he's spinning you he doesn't sound like he's spinning you because he's so conversational.

Too conversational yesterday it seems.

No life = perfect

He was leaning on a lectern with a microphone clearly visible having a casual conversation about President-elect Obama's decision to name Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security chief.  (The video is below).

We don't know the full extent of the conversation.  We only know the part that CNN newshost Campbell Brown presented last night on her "Campbell Brown: No bias, no bull" program.

"Janet's perfect for that job," Rendell says. "Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it."

Oops

Campbell took umbrage with the remarks.  In fact she took three umbrages and presented them in a point by point fashion.

1. If a man had been Obama's choice for the job, would having a family or not having a family ever even have been an issue? Would it have ever prompted a comment? Probably not. We all know the assumption tends to be that with a man, there is almost always a wife in the wings managing those family concerns.
2. As a woman, hearing this, it is hard not to wonder if we are counted out for certain jobs, certain opportunities, because we do have a family or because we are in our child-bearing years. Are we? It is a fair question.
3. If you are a childless, single woman with suspicions that you get stuck working holidays, weekends and the more burdensome shifts more often than your colleagues with families, are those suspicions well-founded? Probably so. Is there an assumption that if you're family-free then you have no life? By some, yes.

No way

Was it a sexist remark?  According to Rendell's camp, no.

His press secretary Chuck Ardo told the Associated Press that "Rendell meant no disrespect to Napolitano and would have made the same comment if the candidate was a man."

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